It was Kayla's Day at the Metropolia Orange Bowl

December 12, 2015 07:23 AM

By Pat Mitsch, special to

PLANTATION, Fla. – Kayla Day will take the court Saturday as further proof that there is strength in numbers.
The 16-year-old from Santa Barbara, Calif., will bear the American flag at the Metropolia Orange Bowl on Saturday as the only U.S. boy or girl to advance to the 18s semifinals.
On a day of attrition that saw her 11 compatriots bow out in either the third round or the quarterfinals – the 18s played two rounds of singles on Friday to make up for rain delays earlier in the week – Day (pictured above) scooted through with routine victories over American Alexandra Sanford (7-5, 6-2) in the third round and Moldovan Anastasia Detiuc (6-4, 6-0) in the quarters.
Day’s success on the Frank Veltri Tennis Center’s clay is certainly no coincidence. She went 4-0 in singles matches on clay at the Junior Fed Cup Final in Spain this fall and won the Grade 1 Yucatan Cup clay-court junior tournament in Mexico last month.

But it could just be her turn in the rotation of American contenders again. Day is part of a strong flock of U.S. girls whose success on the junior circuit this fall is reminiscent of the talented group of American boys that produced three junior Grand Slam champions in 2015.
“There’s a really good group of American girls right now, so it’s really great that we’re all doing well in these big tournaments,” Day said. “There’s a bunch of us.”
To start November, 14-year-old Amanda Anisimova of Hallandale Beach, Fla., won the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano tournament in Mexico City – a tournament with a Grade A designation, the highest on the ITF’s junior circuit. Then a week after Day won the Yucatan Cup, Kylie McKenzie of Anthem, Ariz., won the Eddie Herr Junior Championships singles title in Bradenton, Fla., beating US Open junior champion Dalma Galfi along the way.

Perhaps the numbers from those tournaments tell the story better. At the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano, six American girls reached the quarterfinals. One won it. At the Yucatan Cup, four American girls reached the quarterfinals. One won it. At Eddie Herr, five American girls reached the quarterfinals. One won it.
Four American girls reached the quarterfinals at the Orange Bowl.
“I’ve been playing really well recently,” said the sixth-seeded Day, who gets No. 13 Anastasia Potapova of Russia in Saturday’s semifinals. “So hopefully I can keep it up for tomorrow’s match.”

Friday was indeed roller coaster-like for several of the 18-and-unders, who scored big third-round victories in the morning but found themselves out of the tournament by dusk.
Sixteen-year-old Maria Mateas of Braintree, Mass., upset Australian Open junior champion Tereza Mihalikova in the third round, 6-2, 6-1, only to fall to Potapova, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in the quarterfinals. Fourteenth-seeded American Ulises Blanch upset No. 1 seed Casper Ruud of Norway, 6-3, 6-2, in the third round, then bowed out to No. 9 Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, 6-2, 6-4, in the quarters.

A few top contenders did survive the day. No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached last year’s boys’ 18s final, will meet No. 2 Mate Valkusz of Hungary in one boys’ semifinal Saturday. Kecmanovic will take on unseeded Romanian Calin Manda in the other.

Galfi, the No. 2 seed here, outlasted Russian Evgeniya Levashova in a third-set tiebreak, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), and will get No. 9 Bianca Vanessa Andreescu in Saturday's other girls’ 18s semifinal.

Go to for the latest draws and order of play.